This post has been a long time coming. And I hesitate to write it. As I sit here staring at my keyboard, I worry that, in my attempt to convey my personal story filled with painful trials to you, I’ll come across as a pathetic victim eager to gain your sympathy, and that you will read the words I write and consider my experiences with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia to be inferior in comparison to the suffering endured by others.
And these fears that I possess may hold some truth. But my greatest fear is that I withhold the hardships that I’ve gone through, and the lessons that I’ve learned from them, and rob someone of the encouragement that they need to carry on. To endure. To fight. To feel hope. To live abundantly.
That is my greatest fear. And this is my story.
Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia: The Beginning of My Journey
I honestly don’t remember the exact onset of my health struggles. As in many cases, the deterioration of my health was a slow process that initially went undetected. I accepted feeling sluggish and exhausted day after day as the norm. My chronic fibromyalgia aches were assumed to be “part of life.” And then the anxiety and depression began. Debilitating panic attacks would come over me with no warning, causing me to wish that the earth would swallow me up. I was chronically ill with sinus and other infections. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t lose those last 15 pounds.
While the physical symptoms I experienced held their share of pain, the emotional ache that these symptoms produced was almost unbearable. Extreme chronic fatigue forced me to step down from many of the activities that I loved and felt called to do, including ministries at my church. Horrible anxiety had me hiding away from social situations. I felt extremely isolated from the outside world. And I was constantly questioned, even scolded, about my reclusive behavior.
My Doctors Thought I Was Crazy
After realizing that my worsening condition was significantly affecting my life, I decided to seek the help of a health professional. Little did I know, this decision would be the beginning of a very long and difficult journey. I assumed that I would walk into my doctor’s office, tell him my troubles, and that I would walk away with the perfectly prescribed answer. Boy, was I wrong. He examined me and after I shared my long list of debilitating symptoms, including my inability to lose weight despite my best efforts, I was furious when the doctor responded with “It sounds like you need to lay off the soda and chips.” Within seconds I felt my blood boiling and I’m pretty sure there was actual steam emitting from my ears! I ate what I believed to be a “healthy diet,” which certainly didn’t include soda and chips!
He proceeded to inform me that I was “just depressed” and thrust a bag of antidepressant samples into my hands as he stated that my husband and I could start trying to have a baby at any time since I was healthy. I looked at him in disbelief, reluctantly took the bag of drugs, and walked out the door. When I got in my car, I opened the bag of antidepressants and read the product insert which stated that one should not take this particular drug if pregnant or trying to become pregnant. I couldn’t believe that this doctor would give me a drug that could potentially harm my unborn child if I had blindly trusted him and taken the drug while attempting to become pregnant! On this day I realized that I would have to be my own health advocate and fight for the answers I needed.
I proceeded to visit other doctors in my quest to regain my health. Doctor after doctor, the answer was the same: take a different prescription for each symptom. Granted that I had a long list of symptoms, this translated into a long list of drugs with a million-and-one side effects. While I strongly believe modern medicine has its place, I knew deep down that this approach was not the answer that I so desperately needed. The side effects associated with many of these drugs was quite frightening. I was ultimately diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Anxiety, and Weight Loss Resistance. All of these diagnoses simply described the symptoms that I already knew that I had! I was frustrated, to say the least!
Natural Health: A Different Approach
Finally, after much research on my part, I knew that I had to take a different approach to my health and started looking for a doctor who would treat the root cause of my illnesses, not just the symptoms. I knew in my heart that there was a natural way in which I could be free from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and all of my other health issues. Several months later I was being treated by a wonderful doctor who immediately noticed that I was deficient in many vitamins and minerals, which was contributing to my symptoms. She also stressed the importance of changing my diet in order to regain my health. I was floored. How many doctors “prescribe” supplements and a healthy diet with specific instructions? Unfortunately, not many. And so I began this new journey toward abundant health.
I couldn’t believe the difference I felt in such a short period of time. My energy increased, my fibromyalgia started to diminish, and I began to feel like “me” again. While this new method of taking back my health was producing amazing results, I must be clear in stating that it required much patience and persistence. Through my experience, I learned that our health is truly like a puzzle in that we must work to learn the ways in which we are deficient and strive to restore those areas. In other words, one prescription or change is not likely to “fix” us overnight. But our health is worth the fight.
I feel that it is important to point out that not all doctors are as dismissive and rude as the one who I described in my first encounter. However, I want you to know that taking back your health will likely require you to search for a doctor who will treat the root cause of your ailments, not just your symptoms. This can be a difficult task, but the good news is that more and more health professionals are using a more natural approach to health.
Throughout my health journey, I’ve often asked God “Why me?” Why would He allow this pain in my life? Why wouldn’t He heal me so that I could better serve Him? Why?
He has since answered my question many times over and in many ways. During the time of struggling with my health, I often found myself in the book of James where I learned to “Consider it pure joy” when I faced trials. (James 1:2-4) Joy? Are you kidding me? I don’t know about you, but feeling sad and depressed while experiencing panic attacks and flu-like muscle aches on a daily basis isn’t exactly joyful. But diving deeper in His Word, God tenderly taught me that I can experience joy in hardships. He softly and slowly began to change my attitude as He filled my heart with hope and peace.
God then used someone I love and respect very much to deliver the ultimate answer regarding why God would allow such pain in my life. This dear friend was aware of my struggles and gently led me to this beautiful passage:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as your share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
These verses are the reason that I did not allow my fears regarding what others may think about me to hinder the writing of this article. I firmly believe that the risk of not sharing my health journey far outweighs the risk of tucking my story away, untold. Burying our experiences and concealing them from the world may be one of the worst things we can do as it is depriving others from the hope and encouragement they so desperately need. Others need what you have to give.
While there have been many painful moments throughout my journey toward abundant health, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Why? Because, had I continued down the path that I was on without any symptoms or signs of less-than-optimal health, it is likely that slow and steady inflammation would have continued to intensify within my body, leading to serious illness down the road. I believe that each and every hurt and ache that I suffered was my body’s way of telling me that something wasn’t right and that I needed to make some changes regarding my diet and lifestyle. And for that, I am thankful.
My health struggles have inspired me to be an advocate for natural and preventative health. There are too many people suffering from preventable diseases. Too many people taking too many prescriptions. Too much hurt. Too much pain. There is hope for abundant health. There is a better way.
It is because of my personal health struggles that Sunny Fit Life exists. I have a passion to help others take charge of their health through diet, supplementation, exercise, and lifestyle. It is my prayer that you experience abundant health and wellness by being a good steward of your body. After all, you’ve only got one! Be good to yourself. Eat real food, move regularly, and nourish your soul with God’s Word. Lastly, strive to encourage others with your personal story. You never know the impact that kind and uplifting words can have on the lives of others. Be someone’s miracle.
*This is my personal health story and results are not typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product/website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.